QSNL 2017 preview: Suncoast Lynx, Magnetic North Steelcats

Suncoast Lynx

Squad: Vanessa Augustini, Eden Cassidy, Emma Cook, Kellie Drew, Carly Finnen, Naomi Fitzpatrick, Rosie Gale, Macy Gardner, Emily Gilbert, Melissa Goodwin, Brianna Gregory, Claire Haigh, Josephine Hungerford, Chloe Ivastchencko, Adrienne Keeffe, Chloe Litherland, Maria Lutua, Isabella MacDonald, Laura Morton, Emma Peacock.

Division 1

Coach: Simone Nalatu.

2016 finish: Last.

2016 season snapshot: The Lynx finished bottom of QSNL division one in 2017, posting only a single win from 10 matches. They will be looking to recapture the form which took them to the QSNL grand final in 2014.

Key players: Claire Haig (C): “Claire returns to the squad this year after a great 2016,” said coach Simone Nalatu said. “She was our co-captain last year, brings a lot of experience and knowledge, and has been fantastic in pre-season. She’s really helped our younger players along. She’s extremely fit and can run all day – a really tenacious player, especially in defence.”

Vanessa Augustini (WA/C): “Vanessa is in the Queensland Fusion squad this year and I’m really excited to see what she puts out on the QSNL court this year,” Nalatu said. “She’s smart, very agile and very good with the ball in hand. She’ll be a big asset for us this year.”

What to expect in 2017: “That last couple of years has been a rebuilding period for the club – we lost a lot of key players who went on to play in the ANZ Championship like Steph Wood and Laura Clemesha,” Nalatu said. “We’re looking to stamp our mark back on the competition this year. It’s a new look side and we’re looking to get back up to where we’ve been in the past.”

First five fixtures: Wildcats, Lions, Jaguars, Cougars, Tigers.

Division 2

Coach: Lauren Forbes.

2016 finish: Fifth (City).

2016 season snapshot: Last year was an up and down across for SunCoast Lynx. Injuries to division one players led to opportunities for second division players to gain valuable experience, but caused disturbance within the division two side. Regardless, the side rallied hard and just missed out on finals.

Key players: Macy Gardner (C/WA): “As a wing attack she brings a lot of speed to that attack end, hits the circle really nicely and is able to feed a variety of passes into the shooter,” Forbes said. “She’s a training partner with the Fusion – at 17-years-old she’s one to watch.”

Laura Morton (GA/GS): “Laura’s new the squad this year and has been working really hard at training,” Forbes said. “She has a very consistent shot and has been a stand-out in our practice matches. She’s got great speed on her lead in attack and can shoot from anywhere in the circle.”

What to expect in 2017: “Our big goal this year is to make finals,” Forbes said. “At our camp we held in January, both division one and two teams came up with some key goals we wanted to achieve and one of them was making the top four. To go with that, our playing group want to be more mentally tough and we’ve been working a lot at training on our transitions. With our line-up, finals is a strong possibility.”

Magnetic North Steelcats

Squad: Georgia Bulley, Emily Busch, Jessica Carey, Zoe Carr, Jessica Clarke, Chloe Cooper, Taylor Crossley, Jennifer Hamilton, Jaime Jenson, Katie Lowe, Ashleigh Moser, Sophie O’Connor, Sasarino Pedro, Sian Roberts, Brady Smith, Sophie Watson.

Coach: Sue Warmington.

2016 finish: Second (Country).

2016 season snapshot: In coach Sue Warmington’s first year in the hot seat, the Steelcats had a bumper year where they went 9-3 in regular season competition before being knocked out of finals in the first week by eventual grand finalists Brisbane West Lions.

Key players: Chloe Cooper (GK): Chloe’s reading of the play is exceptional and her transition after rebounding and coming out the back end of the court is great,” coach Sue Warmington said. “Her communication with the other defenders on court is also pretty special.”

Emily Bush (WA): “Emily has enormous speed,” Warmington said. “She’s very quick off the mark, she hits the circle extremely well and her placement of feeds into the circle are exceptional.”

What to expect in 2017: “We have our sights on emulating our performance of last year and hopefully going one better to finish number one in the country region,” Warmington said. “We’re certainly building a lot on what we did last year. We have seven of the same team, so having that continuity has been great for us. We’ve also had three new ladies come into the team which has added a few different dimensions.”